Profiles in Catholicism
 

An Interview with Tracy Mathison


by
Gordon Nary




 

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Gordon:   When and why did you join St Vincent de Paul Parish?                         
     
Tracy::   I joined St. Vincentís at least 15 years ago. Itís been so long now, I barely remember. I feel like itís just part of my DNA at this point. I love it there.
     
Gordon:  

You are the Creative Director for Geometry Global.  What are your primary responsibilities?

     
Tracy::   I create ad campaigns that are used in-store, on social channels and in ecommerce. I oversee a team of 6 people who represent both art and copy disciplines. Itís a fun career. Every day holds something new.
     
Gordon:   What interested you in joining St Vincent de Paulís SPRED Ministry?                        
     
Tracy::

 
  I had the gift of knowing people with special needs in my childhood, and still count some of them as my best friends to this day.  When I saw the bulletin ad at St. Vincentís all those years ago, I had to join. It felt like it was a direct call from God. I couldnít believe that I could combine both my love for God and friendship for people with special needs. I knew it was something special from the beginning
     
Gordon:   Could you share with our readers your call to SPRED and why it is so important in your life? 
     
Tracy::

 
  SPRED means more to me than I can say. It has impacted my life in ways I never could have imagined. I joined in my young adulthood and it has seen me through many years, including in recent years becoming a wife and mother. One of the volunteers from my early years in SPRED was my Maid of Honor and my son calls her ďAunt Brooke.Ē So SPRED has seen me through a lot and Iíll forever be grateful.
     
Gordon:   How do you locate volunteers and how long did it take to start the SPRED ministry at St. Vincent de Paul?
     
Tracy::

 
 

We normally find volunteers from the bulletin, church website or word of mouth. Itís not always easy to find the right people to join. Some years we have a full team and others we depend on a skeleton crew. But ultimately the Holy Spirit provides for us every time. I wish people could see the joy that SPRED could bring into their lives. If they could, they would be beating down the door to get in.

     
Gordon:   Are all of your SPRED ministry members of St Vincent de Paulís?
     
Tracy::   We have parishioners from several neighboring parishes. A few of us are from St. Vincentís.
     
Gordon:   How many people with developmental and intellectual disabilities do you assist?
     
Tracy::   In my group we work with children aged 6-10. Over the years weíve had as many as 6 (the maximum per group allowed by SPRED) and as few as 2. Even if we were only helping one child, it would be worth it.
     
Gordon:   How has your participation in SPRED enhanced your spiritual life?
     
Tracy::

 
  When I started SPRED, I would have assumed that I would have been the one providing friendship and assistance. Boy was I wrong! My SPRED group has given me a deeper relationship with God and an appreciation for Catholicism. The small faith group aspect of SPRED is unparalleled. I look forward to my night with the kids every week and feel a sense of renewal and gratitude as a result.
     
Gordon:   What advice would you give to parishes that do not have a SPRED ministry?
     
Tracy::


 
 

The need is out there and it is real. If Jesus asked you to do it, would you tell him you didnít have time, space or volunteers.   Heís asking through your parishioners, neighbors and friends, and thereís no excuse in the world that will be good enough for him. So many parents of these children are hungry for the church community they had prior to their special needs children. They miss it and sadly their children may never know that support. They need to know God. They often feel alone and without  knowing God is there, what becomes of their faith over time? Itís a dangerous proposition and one we can influence for the  better.

     
Gordon:   Now that youíre a busy career woman, wife and mom how do you find time for SPRED?
     
Tracy:

 
  The need is out there and it is real. If Jesus asked you to do it, would you tell him you didnít have time, space or volunteers.  Heís asking through your parishioners, neighbors and friends, and thereís no excuse in the world that will be good enough  for him. So many parents of these children are hungry for the church community they had prior to their special needs children. They  miss it and sadly their children may never know that support. They need to know God. They often feel alone and without knowing God is there, what becomes of their faith over time? Itís a dangerous proposition and one we can influence for the  better.
     
Gordon:

 
  thank foy for an exceptional and insightful interview which we hope will inspire more people to consider serving as SPRED catechists and more parishes to consider exploring starting a SPRED Ministry to serve their parishioners with special needs.